Licensing, illegal downloads etc.

Wednesday 12th January, 2005
I was thinking on my drive in today a little about the new Apple iPod Shuffle that Wild Bill introduced me to during an MSN chat last night. Incidentally, Bill was connected from his home on 9600baud dial-up...ouch. I can't even remember last time I used dial-up, but if I did these days it would have to work over my VoIP line. Quite ironic that I now need my broadband connection to use dial-up.

Anyway, thinking of iPods/MP3s etc always gets me thinking about licensing, duplication piracy etc. I'm quite outspoken in that I despise people who pirate movies/games/music as it's nothing short of theft. Would these people go into Woolworths and steal a DVD off the shelf? No...because they might get caught. Something has to change in the world.

Unless people start buying media legally, finance to fund future production is going to be continually tight. Watching software companies like Eidos, famous for big games like Tomb Raider and Worms, plunge into the red only goes to show how difficult the world is for small publishers these days.

It's not like games are expensive, I'd guess most titles probably cost significantly less than £1/hour to go from start to finish. This gets even cheaper if you include the infinite online play that often takes place afterwards. How many pastimes are there which represent better value. Certainly not watching live sports, going to the cinema, driving, drinking etc. So why don't people pay for the media?

Without paying for software/games/movies, people don't get paid..simple as that. Would you expect someone to write the next release of your game if you didn't pay them for the last one? Which leads me on to Open Source. The guys over at sites like OpenNTF work hard to bring you free applications along with bug-fixes and additional features in later releases. It is open source and it is distributed freely, but bear in mind that these guys do have costs in both time and also hosting charges for your downloads. Most of them include a PayPal donate button and I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated if you gave a donation, no matter how small.

To practice what I preach, I will shortly be donating a few quid to Steve Castledine who, unlike me, has the pleasure of knowing that he wrote the template on which he blogs. DominoBlog is a fantastic tool and allows somebody with no web development skills (like me) to easily create presentable web sites in minutes. I dread to think how many manhours he's put into the DXproject free of charge...the guy deserves a reward.

  1. 1) Josef Said: (12/01/2005 09:18:29 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Licensing, illegal downloads etc.


    I still find new games overpriced at 50$ (recalculated from local currency). They seem more reasonable for 15$ several years later. Don't have hardware for the new super-duper hi-tech games either...

  2. 2) Ben Rose Said: (12/01/2005 09:56:28 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Licensing, illegal downloads etc.

    If I go on local currency, games here are $60-100 but that's not a fair comparison. I tend to go based on the price of a McDonalds sandwich like a Big Mac which is ■2.29 here. That means a ■35 game costs about 15 Big Macs.

    I'm not against people buying budget titles later on, it's the ones who get the latest games for free I'm against.

    I don't think it's any co-incidence that PC games, which are generally easier to copy, are at least ■10 cheaper than the same title on a console platform on which you need hardware changes to pirate games.

  3. 3) Bruce Said: (13/01/2005 01:21:37 GMT) Gravatar Image
    And to think....

    And to think we let you put together the OpenNTF Mail template with no dev skills. Yikes :-)

  4. 4) Ben Rose Said: (13/01/2005 07:15:52 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Licensing, illegal downloads etc.

    Hey, I said no WEB development skills ;O)

  5. 5) Colman Carpenter Said: (13/01/2005 08:40:58 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Licensing, illegal downloads etc.

    Based on a recent chat...not much in the way of LotusScript and pretty shakey formula too ;)

  6. 6) Greyhawk68 Said: (17/01/2005 17:13:50 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Licensing, illegal downloads etc.

    The only problem I have is that all these industries are quoting these huge figures of losses based on piracy and I don't buy it. Most of the pirates out there wouldn't have purchased the product anyway, so it's not like the company is out a sale.

    On the other hand, I do think people should get paid for their work, and I purchase all of my software legally. BUT, will I download a song on occassion. Certainly!

    Why? Well, to test out an album to see if it's okay, or to grab a copy of a song I might have somewhere on tape, or just to find rare stuff (live songs, acoustic etc...) If I do any of those things, the RIAA brands me a thief.

    I own over 2000 CD's so I may be an exception rather than the rule, but I think for the most part, downloading music does nothing but help an artist. More people might buy their merchandise, go to a concert, or might buy an album based on the download...

    Once again, a poor college student downloading an album does not hurt the music industry, because that student wouldn't have made the purchase anyway.

    Now, once that student becomes an adult, hits the real world and makes money on their own, they will have a much broader appreciation of music and might actually contribute money to the cause... They might see that concert, or buy that T-shirt, or actually buy that album.

    Anyway, the analogy of walking into a store and taking something off the shelf doesn't fly with me. Basically because the item in question never leaves the shelf...

    The RIAA in particular blame downloading without looking at economic factors (huge recession we've been in for years) competition (money is going to videogames and DVD's now in a much higher percentage) higher prices (prices have remained high despite lower costs of CD production) and fewer titles released.

    Let's see, you are going to release FEWER titles, at HIGHER costs, when people are struggling to make money, and DVD and videogame sales are soaring, and yet you believe the scourge that's hurting you is downloading... Give me a break.

    Look at sales of Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 and Usher's album and tell me piracy is hurting things to the degree the higher ups want you to believe. It isn't. It doesn't make it right, but that doesn't mean we have to believe the inflated claims of these companies...

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